Connection through community
We can't make it alone. No matter how self-reliant we are, our connection to our community will always be essential to our wellbeing. By Paula Hines
We’re used to the expectation of being self-reliant. Many of us pride ourselves on this, and while there is an importance in taking responsibility for and caring for ourselves, the truth is that we can’t and don’t really make it alone. (Even the act of caring for ourselves ultimately benefits the whole.)
We are connected and we do need each other. If you don’t believe this, think about the elements that make up your day: who has produced the food that you eat? The transportation and technology you rely on? The clothes you wear? Even if you make your own clothes, the materials and tools to make them came from somewhere.
When I think of all the things I rely on day-to-day that can at times be easy to take for granted, I find myself often giving thanks to people that I know I will never meet through the practice of loving-kindness.
But there are also the people that we do regularly see and meet. Even when we don’t know each other, that regularity and familiarity tends to form connection. One of the lovely things I’ve observed over the years via teaching – whether in-person or online – is the connection between regular class attendees and how this can grow into warm community. People who may have never otherwise met, brought together by yoga.
Connection through community feeds us. Connection through community is crucial for our wellbeing.
Connection through community soothes our nervous systems. Though we may each be on our own paths, yoga teaches us that we are not separate. If you practice alone you are still connected to others via the practice and simply by your existence as a living being.
Though the pandemic may be a distant memory to some (even though at the time of me writing this, Covid-19 has not completely gone away), I think we forget the lessons of this time at our collective peril. One of the big lessons was that we are connected (whether some people like it or not) and that community really does matter. That communities of care are incredibly important and healing.
As an introvert who needs alone time to recharge, I also know that I cannot thrive without connection and community.
What do connection and community mean to you? How can we seek out and create more communities of care where we support and nourish each other as well as ourselves?
Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer. Her new book Rest + Calm (Green Tree, Bloomsbury Publishing) is out now in paperback, audiobook and Kindle/eBook. Find out more at ucanyoga.co.uk